Bachmann calls oil spill victim escrow account ‘a redistribution-of-wealth fund’

[quote="Suudy, post:8, topic:202124"]
Really? What was BP's profit margin last year? They are a publicly traded company, look it up.

I think you'll find their profit was less than other industries, including pharmaceuticals, banking, fast food, software, etc.

[/quote]

huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/27/bps-profits-far-outweigh_n_591992.html

hile the Gulf oil spill has devastated the region, and will have long-term consequences, BP will be able to shake off the costs of the cleanup with little more than a shrug.

The company's stock price has taken a hit, and its reputation is in tatters, but the company makes so much money that it is unlikely to suffer much in the long run.

**The cost per day of the oil spill to BP so far has been $16 million. That number is dwarfed by the $66 million per day the firm made in profit in the first quarter of this year. Indeed, in 2009 BP's total profits were $14 billion. **As CNN's Christine Romans notes, even if the cleanup costs were to rise to $14 billion, it would simply mean that BP went one year without make a profit, let alone losing money.

[quote="jjdrury81, post:21, topic:202124"]
%between%**The cost per day of the oil spill to BP so far has been $16 million. That number is dwarfed by the $66 million per day the firm made in profit in the first quarter of this year. Indeed, in 2009 BP's total profits were $14 billion. **As CNN's Christine Romans notes, even if the cleanup costs were to rise to $14 billion, it would simply mean that BP went one year without make a profit, let alone losing money.

[/quote]

First, nobody is suggesting that BP not pay a dime. Second, you missed the point--oil profit are not nearly as large as other industries. And third, according to BP's own financial report, they paid every single dime of those profits out in dividends, with over 75% of those dividends going to people owning 10,000 shares or less.

So what's your point again?

[quote="jjdrury81, post:1, topic:202124"]
This woman is insane...

Who votes for her?

:confused:

[/quote]

The idea is not that that BP shouldn't pay for their mistakes, but rather that the Feds are doing more and more. I agree with them paying for it... but I don't trust who the government will have controlling it. Former ACORN leadership maybe? Maybe they can just "lose" 10 billion of it. People are growing weary of government sticking their nose into everything. Hence the Tea party Movement. So you can probably expect more people like her in the upcoming elections.

Cymonk

[quote="j1akey, post:20, topic:202124"]
I'm not sure if anyone has noticed or not but the wealth in this country has already been redistributed...up. Over the last 30 years the rich have been getting richer and the poor and middle class have been steadily getting poorer.

A higher percentage of the country's wealth is being concentrated into a smaller and smaller percentage of the population but everyone acts like there's nothing wrong with this? I don't get it.

[/quote]

Tell me a socialist country where the wealth goes to the poor and they are doing better than Americans are. Oh, and the governments not broke.

[quote="j1akey, post:20, topic:202124"]
I'm not sure if anyone has noticed or not but the wealth in this country has already been redistributed...up. Over the last 30 years the rich have been getting richer and the poor and middle class have been steadily getting poorer.

A higher percentage of the country's wealth is being concentrated into a smaller and smaller percentage of the population but everyone acts like there's nothing wrong with this? I don't get it.

[/quote]

I'm not entirely persuaded of your first point. I realize this is anecdotal, but almost everyone I know is better off now than they were decades ago.

I'm not sure the concentration of wealth is terribly meaningful. Wealth is not a zero sum game. One person's getting wealthy does not necessarily mean anybody else is less wealthy as a consequence. In any event, most of the wealth is not held by the top 1% or so, (the unimaginably wealthy) most of it is in the top 10%. Most of the top 10% didn't have it to start with and aren't super-rich now.

Most of the country's wealth is in the hands of the upper end of the middle class, truth be told. Likely that's why that segment is being targeted by this government. Since most of that wealth is in the form of tangible, productive assets (business, farm, ranch) I'm not sure that ownership is a societal evil or that targeting is a societal good.

[quote="cymonk, post:23, topic:202124"]
The idea is not that that BP shouldn't pay for their mistakes, but rather that the Feds are doing more and more. I agree with them paying for it... but I don't trust who the government will have controlling it. Former ACORN leadership maybe? Maybe they can just "lose" 10 billion of it. People are growing weary of government sticking their nose into everything. Hence the Tea party Movement. So you can probably expect more people like her in the upcoming elections.

Cymonk

[/quote]

The more worrisome possibility, in my judgment, is that the "fix is in". We do not know, for example, how much BP has been making off the government in the form of "green energy" incentives. But it is one of the big recipients of it. There is no way this government could force BP into putting up 20 billion this way. This was by agreement. BP is a big contributor to political coffers. What do we know about the "other side" of this deal? Nothing.

[quote="Ridgerunner, post:25, topic:202124"]
I'm not entirely persuaded of your first point. I realize this is anecdotal, but almost everyone I know is better off now than they were decades ago.

[/quote]

Exactly. You beat me to it, but I was going to ask: Are the poor worse off now then they were 30 years ago? The funny thing is, 99% of households own television sets. About 56% have cable television (source) 55% of households have internet access (source). 93% of school age children have access to a computer at home (it was just 32% in 1993). 92% of households have a car (up from 85% in 1977) (source).

The facts do not bear out that the poor are getting poorer. The poor are far better off now than they were 30 years ago. They may not be getting rich as fast as others, but they sure aren't getting poorer.

Well no, wealth is not a zero sum game because new money is being brought into the system. However the distribution of that new wealth is disproportionately being filtered to the top.

Also as a correction to my original post. I looked it up and I was mistaken about the top 1% controlling most of the wealth. The latest information I could find actually said 42.7% of the financial wealth was controlled by the top 1% of the population in 2007 but I'm willing to bet it's closer to 50% today though I can not find an diffinitive numbers for the current day. The next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) controlled 50.3% of the financial wealth in the country.

That left a whopping 7% of the countries wealth for the bottom 80% of the population. I'd be really interested to see what the numbers are like today in 2010.

Now I know that there is always going to be some sort of inequality in the distribution of wealth but this seems a bit more extreme to me than it has in the past.

I'm a graph person so...

Share of capital income earned by top 1% and bottom 80%, 1979-2003 (From Shapiro & Friedman, 2006.)

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/images/wealth/Figure_5.gif

CEOs' average pay, production workers' average pay, the S&P 500 Index, corporate profits, and the federal minimum wage, 1990-2005 (all figures adjusted for inflation)

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/images/wealth/Figure_7.gif

So looking at this it's pretty obvious to me that the average grunt worker in the country isn't really making any more money than they were 20 years ago, I don't have any solid numbers but it's a pretty safe bet the average american worker isn't making any more money than they were in 2005. A couple percentage points but inflation has been has gone up roughly 50% in the same time frame.

While wages haven't technically dropped, a buck doesn't go nearly as far as it used to so people have less wealth.

I can't say I think that counting the number of people with internet, cable or, a computer is a good indicator of how well people live in general.

  1. Computers for example were not widely available to the average person in 1993 since they could easily cost $1500.00 for a mid-range system and it was still relatively early in their develpement, many people didn't know what to do with one even if they owned one. They're much cheaper today than they used to be. Ownership has more to do with availability and price than it does with individual wealth. Plus people are now learning how to use them effectively which creates more demand for them.

  2. The TV was invented in 1929, one would expect 99% of of households to have one at this point just the from the leftovers if nothing else since it's been around for the last 81 years. Plenty of time for 3 or 4 generations of citizens to finally get one.

  3. The internet was barely more than a gimmik being worked on by a few people at various university's and government agencies 30 years ago. Today it's so ingrained into society it stands to reason that at least half of households have access to it since it isn't a tool limited to the rich. Internet access is free or very inexpensive in many areas depending on where you live. Having the ability to pay 20 bucks a month for internet access does not mean you are doing well for yourself financially.

  4. As far as the % of households that own a car goes, going from 85% to 92% is a direct indicator of increased demand, not increased wealth. There's nothing behind these numbers to indicate the reason for increased ownership. I would also assume that leases are included in those statistics since leasing a car has become a popular and cheaper alternative to actual ownership in the short term unless you plan on keeping a car for many years. This makes cars more affordable to more people.

I haven't been able to find any information that indicates worker wages or assets are actually going up in any meaningful way. Every Analasys, indicator, survey, or anything I see really indicates to me that the wealth of the general population is either stagnant or going down.

10 years ago your average entry level grunt work job paid about $10.00 per hour. Today your average entry level grunt work is still $10.00 per hour. This is not a sign of growth. This doesn't even keep up with inflation for the same time period. I would like to think that there are alot of good paying jobs out there but there really aren't. Most of the new jobs that we create, if we create any at all, are completely entry level.

I guess my pictures don't work so here's where I got them.

sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

First graph
sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/images/wealth/Figure_5.gif

Second Graph
sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/images/wealth/Figure_7.gif

10 years ago your average entry level grunt work job paid about $10.00 per hour. Today your average entry level grunt work is still $10.00 per hour. This is not a sign of growth. This doesn't even keep up with inflation for the same time period. I would like to think that there are alot of good paying jobs out there but there really aren't. Most of the new jobs that we create, if we create any at all, are completely entry level.

I can tell you right know that this is false. I live in one of the lowest cost of living states in the country and 10 years ago I was making 10 bucks an hour. They start out at 15 now. Not a huge jump by any means, but move a guy from California that's making 15 an hour to Oklahoma and he will live like a king.

Well, I guess that depends on the job but every entry level job I saw 10 years ago pays pretty much the same today. 10 bucks an hour was an example but no, i'm not wrong. All i have to do is pick up a newspaper and see what jobs are paying and it's the same as it was at the millenium for the most part.

[quote="j1akey, post:28, topic:202124"]
CEOs' average pay, production workers' average pay, the S&P 500 Index, corporate profits, and the federal minimum wage, 1990-2005 (all figures adjusted for inflation)

[/quote]

You are looking at the gap, but not the change in income. Are poor people better off than 30 years ago? That's the whole point right? Not whether they are as well off as the richest. Not whether they are rich. But whether their lot in life has improved.

So it is not fair to compare how much the poor are making relative to the rich. The gap isn't the issue (unless you are into equal outcome, rather than equal opportunity). The real comparison is whether the wages of the poor have kept up with the wages of the rich.
http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/images/wealth/Figure_7.gif

[quote="j1akey, post:28, topic:202124"]
1. Computers for example were not widely available to the average person in 1993 since they could easily cost $1500.00 for a mid-range system and it was still relatively early in their develpement, many people didn't know what to do with one even if they owned one. They're much cheaper today than they used to be. Ownership has more to do with availability and price than it does with individual wealth. Plus people are now learning how to use them effectively which creates more demand for them.

[/quote]

That's exactly the point. It isn't just about wages. It is about how the luxuries in life have dropped to the point of being affordable to even the lower class. This disproves your notion that a dollar doesn't go as far now as it did 30 years ago. In fact, it does! A $25 TV now is significantly better than a $200 TV 30 years ago.

[quote="j1akey, post:28, topic:202124"]
3. The internet was barely more than a gimmik being worked on by a few people at various university's and government agencies 30 years ago. Today it's so ingrained into society it stands to reason that at least half of households have access to it since it isn't a tool limited to the rich. Internet access is free or very inexpensive in many areas depending on where you live. Having the ability to pay 20 bucks a month for internet access does not mean you are doing well for yourself financially.

[/quote]

No? But it does mean that people have disposable income. If people are so poor that they can't afford to buy food, medicine, or pay rent, then television, cable, cell phones, XBox's, and iPods, are not necessities. Yet when we look at the numbers, and most people have these items, what does that tell you about the lives of people? Either they aren't as bad off as they seem (and certainly better than 30 years ago), or they are gaming the system. Your choice.

[quote="j1akey, post:28, topic:202124"]
4. As far as the % of households that own a car goes, going from 85% to 92% is a direct indicator of increased demand, not increased wealth. There's nothing behind these numbers to indicate the reason for increased ownership. I would also assume that leases are included in those statistics since leasing a car has become a popular and cheaper alternative to actual ownership in the short term unless you plan on keeping a car for many years. This makes cars more affordable to more people.

[/quote]

What? The only point is that cars are more affordable now, than they were 30 years ago. Does that mean poor people have it better now than 30 years ago or not? Who cares about leases, or other statistics. Are poor people better off now than 30 years ago?

[quote="j1akey, post:28, topic:202124"]
I haven't been able to find any information that indicates worker wages or assets are actually going up in any meaningful way. Every Analasys, indicator, survey, or anything I see really indicates to me that the wealth of the general population is either stagnant or going down.

[/quote]

What is "meaningful" to you? Home ownership? It's up. Ability to afford luxuries? Way up. How many Americans could afford to go to the Caribbean for a week 30 years ago? Seriously. If the number of people that can afford luxuries has gone up, then it either means wages are up or cost of living is down.

[quote="j1akey, post:28, topic:202124"]
10 years ago your average entry level grunt work job paid about $10.00 per hour. Today your average entry level grunt work is still $10.00 per hour. This is not a sign of growth. This doesn't even keep up with inflation for the same time period. I would like to think that there are alot of good paying jobs out there but there really aren't. Most of the new jobs that we create, if we create any at all, are completely entry level.

[/quote]

Um, I'm not sure about that. Here in WA, the minimum wage is right about $10 now. So the "average entry level grunt" was making must less 10 years ago. When I was in high school, the minimum wage was $3.65/hr. And that wasn't even 20 years ago.

The poor and working class are not better off than they were 30 years ago.

Not by a long shot.

Assertions are meaningless.

How about some evidence? I cited real data showing the poor and working class have access to more luxuries than ever before, and the take advantage of them. If they are worse off than 30 years ago, how is this possible?

**What is "meaningful" to you? **Home ownership? It's up. Ability to afford luxuries? Way up. How many Americans could afford to go to the Caribbean for a week 30 years ago? Seriously. If the number of people that can afford luxuries has gone up, then it either means wages are up or cost of living is down.

That's the key point. I see more homeless, fewer people with sustainable full-time jobs, more people watching their pennies, more people in foreclosures, more immigrants, more people requiring medical attention, more people shoveling their own snow, etc. Now I understand even the well off are pinching pennies and businesses are cutting corners; yet the number of those taking those Caribbean trips has risen. Statistics can be very deceiving.

Real wages are down. A simple Google/Yahoo search will give you plenty of data on this.

The minimum wage is down about 25% from 30 years ago.
oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html

Union membership is down. Where people used to be able to work a job at, let's say, a unionized general electric and, perhaps, someday afford a modest house, they now work in some sort of low wage/low benefits service sector job. Even if the pay is only slightly reduced for these jobs compared to what the unionized ones of old gave, the benefits are drastically reduced. This includes flexibility, child care options, health care, time off and overall happiness on the job.

Personal debt is up. Way up. We talk about that on these boards nearly every day.

The poverty rate as remained stagnant despite all of the very real advancements that you had pointed out that some privileged Americans can now enjoy.
census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/histpov/hstpov2.html

[quote="ProVobis, post:35, topic:202124"]
That's the key point. I see more homeless, fewer people with sustainable full-time jobs, more people watching their pennies, more people in foreclosures, more immigrants, more people requiring medical attention, more people shoveling their own snow, etc.

[/quote]

I don't see more homeless. There are perhaps more home foreclosures, but that doesn't lead to homelessness (unless you define homelessness as not owning a home).

Fewer "sustainable" full-time jobs? What does that mean? Are they able to afford food, clothing, and shelter for their family? Or does it mean they can't afford to buy snacks for the kids, or buy the latest Gameboy, or afford HBO?

Watching pennies? Duh! Who doesn't? Even in the boom leading up to the .com bust people were watching their pennies. I know I was. I know my family was. And I know my friends where.

More immigrants? Doesn't that disprove your point? It means more people want to be here, meaning the poor here have it better than anywhere else. The poor here are not living in shacks, boiling water to have something safe to drink, and killing the neighborhood cats and dogs for food.

More people requiring medical attention? So what? Does that mean people are poor? Or that people are unhealthy? How many cases of malnutrition, because they couldn't afford food and weren't eligible assistance, were there last year? The year before? The poor are already eligible for health care (Medicaid) so unless they aren't enrolled or refuse to go to the doctor, I fail to see how this is any indicator of the poor being worse off.

[quote="ProVobis, post:35, topic:202124"]
Now I understand even the well off are pinching pennies and businesses are cutting corners; yet the number of those taking those Caribbean trips has risen. Statistics can be very deceiving.

[/quote]

So, what you are saying is that people are taking advantage of less luxuries. So what? Does that mean that more people are starving? Or freezing on the streets? Of have too many holes in their socks?

Median household income has gone up on an inflation adjusted basis over the past 30 years. On an inflation adjusted basis it has quadrupled, which probably explains why we have computers, cell phones, 500 channels and all sorts of other things that we never had in 1975.

davemanuel.com/median-household-income.php

Food is so affordable now, the overeating has become a national problem.

Morbid obesity is a serious issue.

And you cannot become obese without eating.

Where, once, food shortages were an issue, that no longer is, in the United States.

There was a time, not that long ago, when even the wealthy could not have air conditioned cars.

Then, after a while, ONLY the wealthy could afford to have air conditioned cars.

NOW, pretty much every car has air conditioning.

If that doesn't speak to how the standard of living and quality of life has improved, I don't know what does.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.